Week 9: Reworking Existing Media

12 04 2010

PSAs, Man…

PSAs are relatively easy to rework, depending on how deep you get into them.  You have a variety of options because they are a blank canvas, in a way.  They are fairly neutral, so it’s less likely that they’ll be automatically removed (or censored) after being posted to YouTube because there are no corporate interests involved.  While they’re not widely seen by television viewers, they typically carry very simple ideas that are easy to take in new directions.

MUTV instructs its shows to include PSAs in their program when they have a little time to fill.  A show that runs about 28 minutes can make it up to 30 minutes with 4 PSAs so that they don’t have to recut their footage.  This means that MUTV has created an archive of PSAs for shows to use.  Obvious The RC doesn’t roll that way.  We decided to include PSAs, but not in their original form.  We frequently remix PSAs several different ways and run different versions throughout an episode.  With the help of our friend Nick Miller, we got a few PSAs done in only about an hour.  It’s easy content to create and it really doesn’t require much thought in order to be funny.  The simplest way to go about it, we’ve found, is simply to re-record the narration for the PSA.  We’ll add a new graphic at the end of the commercial as well, if necessary.

This first PSA was originally a little girl reciting “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”  She fumbles through the words, then a narrator explains that good nutrition at a young age vastly increases a child’s memory and helps them to do better in school.  We replaced the graphic at the end with a less appropriate graphic from a different PSA and replaced the narration as well.

Here’s one version of another PSA that was originally for FocusOnLearning.org and it was about children with learning disabilities.  It begins with parents making relatively ambiguous statements about their children related to brushing off learning disabilities, then a narrator tells the viewer to make sure to take children to a specialist to get help.  We deleted all the narration and had a bit of fun with the ambiguity of the initial statements.

Here’s another version of the same PSA, this time with an entirely different mood.  (A warning, this one’s in rather poor taste.)

Here’s another example of a PSA we’ve done.  This one is about staying in school and it only lasts about 15 seconds.  We basically just replaced one line, but it really ruins the whole thing.  We took a more complex approach to remixing this one, in that we actually altered the video.  We replaced the mouth of the old man in this PSA with Johnny’s mouth (very poorly).

Here’s an Ad Council PSA for the Library of Congress website which encourages people to study history.  It’s so terrible, that we felt whatever we did to it would make it better.  We remixed it five times.  Here’s just one version (another warning – this one has rough language):

We still have quite a few PSAs to take on, so you can expect to see more in the future.  Several are already shot/recorded and just need editing.  The Pizza Delivery PSAs have already been reworked a second time by some of our more enthusiastic viewers, so we know that they’re working, I guess.

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